oa South African Medical Journal - Decriminalisation of drugs : correspondence

Volume 101, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



I appreciated the editorial on the decriminalisation of drugs, which argued that psychoactive drugs are part of human antiquity, that world-wide attempts to 'clean up' the drug scene have been counterproductive, that the 'war' on drugs has failed, and that attempts to root out drug barons and supply routes has hiked prices and destabilised political systems rather than achieving the noble aim of drug eradication. With subtle reference to human hypocrisy, Professor Van Niekerk points out that official acknowledgement of the futility of drug wars is political suicide. He makes the sobering observation that tobacco and alcohol are in the top half of the ranking scale of human harm and yet these drugs are legal. He implies that decriminalising the others will go a long way toward relinquishing the lucrative control of drug dealing from the barons to the State, which could put the money to better use.

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